San Diego
Culture & History

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Our most recommended San Diego Culture & History

Skip-the-Line: USS Midway Museum Entry Ticket

1. Skip-the-Line: USS Midway Museum Entry Ticket

Take a self-guided audio tour onboard the world’s longest-serving aircraft carrier, the historic USS Midway. See the carrier’s 25 restored aircraft from the days of WWII to Operation Desert Storm. Visit areas throughout the Midway, from the crew's sleeping quarters to the pilots' ready rooms. Docents are available throughout the carrier and are eager to share their stories, anecdotes, and statistics, creating a picture of just how important the USS Midway was to the U.S. Navy. Most guests spend 3 to 4 hours exploring this historic aircraft carrier and learning its history. The included audio guide, available in 6 languages, will help you explore the dozens of highlighted areas across the massive ship.  There are family-oriented activities throughout the Museum. Included are 3 types of flight simulators, music videos, short films, climb-aboard aircraft and cockpits, and more. The Museum is located at the Navy Pier in downtown San Diego.

San Diego: Harbor Sightseeing Cruise

2. San Diego: Harbor Sightseeing Cruise

See the sights of San Diego Bay on a fully-narrated cruise. Pass by Seaport Village, Shelter Island, Coronado Island, Point Loma, and Cabrillo National Monument, among other notable points of interest, while taking in beautiful skyline views. Choose between a 1-hour cruise of either the North or South Harbor, or book the 2-hour cruise, which includes both. San Diego’s North Harbor cruise takes you past historic ships in the Maritime Museum, Harbor Island, North Island Naval Air Station, and Shelter Island. The South Harbor route includes sightings of the Coronado Bridge, the U.S.S. Midway Aircraft Carrier, the U.S. Navy Surface Fleet, and the Naval Amphibious Base Coronado. As you sail, keep a lookout for wildlife such as blue herons, sea lions, and pelicans Listen as your professional crew provides commentary about the rich local and military history, points of interest, and facts about San Diego Bay. This sightseeing cruise also showcases local environmental conservation efforts through video clips and onboard displays.

90-Minute San Diego SEAL Tour

3. 90-Minute San Diego SEAL Tour

Splash into San Diego’s most unique sightseeing tour. See the best of San Diego on land and in the water. Take a seat on the San Diego SEAL tour, an adventure that takes you through the most interesting sights in the city before heading out into the harbor of San Diego. Your 90-minute fully-narrated tour will wind through picturesque San Diego streets before splashing into the water for a cruise of San Diego Bay. On land, you will pass the Embarcadero and San Diego International Airport. You will learn about the importance of the military in San Diego and other San Diego icons as you travel along the scenic coast. Once you splash into the Big Bay, you will glide by Navy ships, tugboats, and fishing vessels throughout the harbor as you listen to stories of early sailors. Experience the history and ecological wonders of San Diego in the comfort and security of a virtually unsinkable Hydra-Terra. Driven by our experienced captains, these amphibious vehicles are specially designed and built to navigate on both sea and land. Each one is Coast Guard approved and meets all passenger vehicle and department of transportation requirements to ensure safety and comfort for all. Both tour bus and boat, the San Diego SEAL journeys through San Diego by land and sea. Our unique amphibious vehicles are Coast Guard approved, ensuring you a safe, one-of-a-kind experience. Relax and enjoy amazing views during the best sightseeing adventure in San Diego.

San Diego: Harbor Cruise

4. San Diego: Harbor Cruise

See San Diego's best sights. Learn about the city and enjoy a cruise on the bay. Depending on the option booked, this tour takes you under the Coronado Bridge, past military ships, waterfront landmarks, and marine life for a look at San Diego's scenic beauty and fascinating history. This tour’s luxury ships offer three levels with comfortable indoor and outdoor seating, 360-degree views, and an on-board snack bar serving snacks, soda, beer, wine and cocktails (available for purchase). This is a great way to experience San Diego from the water.

San Diego: Belmont Park Ride & Play Pass

5. San Diego: Belmont Park Ride & Play Pass

Explore Belmont Park in San Diego with unlimited access to a variety of rides right by the beach. Experience the carefree summer spirit all year round as you try a variety of historic and modern rides. Benefit from access to 13 rides at the park. Feel a rush of adrenaline as you take on rides like The Giant Dipper, a classic wooden rollercoaster that dates back to 1925. Ride on modern attractions such as Beach Blaster, Control Freak, and Zero Gravity. Enjoy group-based activities like Tiki Town mini-golf and laser tag as you challenge your friends. Test your balance on the sky ropes or on the rock wall. Kids can have fun on the Krazy Kars, Tilt-a-Whirl, the Belmont Express, the classic Liberty Carousel, or with a variety of other family-friendly activities.

San Diego: Haunted Historic Whaley House - Self-Guided Tour

6. San Diego: Haunted Historic Whaley House - Self-Guided Tour

Travel back to 1800s San Diego as you explore the family home of Thomas Whaley on a self-guided tour. After a 5-minute introduction, walk through the Whaley House Museum at your own pace and ask the docent in each room any questions you may have. For those who have an affinity for the paranormal, San Diego’s famed Whaley House is widely regarded as the most haunted house in America. With its rich and dark past, spine-tingling cases of spiritual encounters, and inexplicable events, its haunted pedigree is second to none. Get a glimpse into the past at a house that’s been viewed as an integral part of Old Town San Diego since 1857. With more than a century in the making, the Whaley House Museum holds an impressive amount of San Diego heritage. Recognized as the oldest two-story brick-structure south of Monterey California, the Whaley House features magnificent Greek Revival architecture along with an unrivaled historical timeline encompassing San Diego’s second county courthouse, a lively theater, a charming general store, and a prominent family home.

San Diego: Ghosts & Gravestones Trolley Tour

7. San Diego: Ghosts & Gravestones Trolley Tour

Whilst San Diego is known the world over for its beautiful beaches, mild climate, and abundance of points of interest not many people know about the city's darker side. Discover San Diego's long history of unnerving deaths, mysterious occurrences, and more ominous sides on a fun and informative guided tour. Travel back in time and hear about the spirits of the notorious characters who lived and died in San Diego. First, venture into the sleepy streets of the Mission Hills neighborhood, where Pioneer Park is transformed at night. Continue to Old Town, walking through El Campo Santo Cemetery and learning about the notorious past of this city full of gunslingers, gamblers, ladies of the night, and many more unsavory characters. Finally, the tour includes a tour of the grounds and exterior of the Whaley House, where many reported paranormal occurrences have taken place.

San Diego: Drive Your Own Speed Boat 2-Hour Tour

8. San Diego: Drive Your Own Speed Boat 2-Hour Tour

Ideal for those with a free spirit and sense of adventure, but who don't want to miss out on a guided tour, this 2-hour excursion combines the best of both worlds. You will be the captain of your own speed boat, all the while following a trained, knowledgeable guide as they keep you informed via the 2-way communication system that’s mounted in each boat. Hear the guide’s witty, yet historical narration as you cruise the harbor, seeing such luminous sights as the Russian submarine at San Diego Maritime Museum, the USS Midway and the skyline of downtown San Diego. Exhilarating and spontaneous, with laugh-out-loud moments, the thrill of driving your own boat, as well as the safety of having a skilled guide introduce you to the highlights makes for a perfect combination. Even the sea lions will give you a cheer!

San Diego Zoo and Safari Park: 2-Day Entry Ticket

9. San Diego Zoo and Safari Park: 2-Day Entry Ticket

Experience the best of two worlds with a two-day admission ticket to the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Widely regarded as the best in the world, the San Diego Zoo has open-air enclosures and puts an emphasis on animal welfare and conservation. Its sister Safari Park boasts wide open spaces for its many animals to roam freely, mimicking their natural habitat as closely as possible.   Explore the San Diego Zoo, home to over 4,500 rare and endangered animals. Experience their worlds at the Polar Bear Plunge, Elephant Odyssey, and other areas. Winding paths through the tropical oasis of a botanical garden bring you to the zoo’s rare and fascinating animals, including koalas, Galápagos tortoises, tigers, eagles, flamingos, great apes, and more. The festive, lively atmosphere makes this zoo a great place for family fun and gathering friends. Discover the wonders of wildlife with animal encounters, interactive experiences, and exciting animal presentations and shows.   The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is an adventurer’s safari paradise in Southern California. The 1,800-acre park is home to more than 3,000 animals representing more than 375 species, many living in wide open field enclosures. Join one of many tours and create memories for you and your family. Visit Sumatra and see tigers, orangutans, rhinos, and elephants. Tiger Trail provides a journey to discover tigers and learn about their current struggles. In Lion Camp, come nose to nose with an African lion pride. And best of all, your participation contributes to the conservation of species here and in more than 35 countries across the globe.

San Diego: Go City Explorer Pass - Choose 2-7 Attractions

10. San Diego: Go City Explorer Pass - Choose 2-7 Attractions

Experience San Diego's top attractions and tours and get up to 55% off combined admission with Go City's Explorer Pass. Simply choose 2, 3, 4, 5, or 7 top attractions from over 45 options and go at your own pace - you have 60 days to use your pass from first activation. Visit the world-famous San Diego Zoo or the USS Midway Museum. Explore more of the city with a hop-on hop-off trolley tour, or kayak and snorkel in beautiful La Jolla. The possibilities are endless. Your pass is fully digital and no physical card is required. Simply download your pass directly to your smartphone or print at home. Show your pass at each attraction for quick and easy entrance. Choose from the following things to do in San Diego with the San Diego Explorer Pass: Museums and Places of Interest • San Diego Zoo OR San Diego Zoo Safari Park (choose 1) • USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum • Belmont Park Ride and Play Pass • Maritime Museum of San Diego • Air and Space Museum • Birch Aquarium at Scripps • The Fleet Science Center with IMAX • San Diego Natural History Museum • Museum of Us • Living Coast Discovery Center • The New Children's Museum • San Diego Museum of Art • San Diego Model Railroad Museum • Japanese Friendship Garden • PETCO Park Tour - Home of the San Diego Padres • San Diego Automotive Museum • Museum of Contemporary Art (Downtown) • Mingei International Museum Tours and Activities • 2-Day Hop-On Hop-off Old Town San Diego Trolley • Living Coast Discovery Center • 1-hr San Diego Harbor Cruise by Hornblower • 90-min Best of the Bay Cruise by Hornblower • San Diego Speed Boat Adventures • Jet Ski Rental San Diego Harbor • Go Kart and Thrill Park • Whale Watching by Hornblower Cruises • Plunge San Diego • San Diego Fishing Tour • San Diego Hiking Tour • San Diego Harbor: Kayak Rental or Stand Up Paddle Board Rental • La Jolla: Kayak Rental, Snorkel Rental, Stand Up Paddle Board Rental, Surf Board Rental or Bike Rental • Coronado: Kayak Rental, Stand Up Paddle Board Rental, or Bike Rental • UTC Ice Sports Center • Speed Circuit: All Access • San Diego City & Beach Tours • 1-Hour Scooter Rental • GoCar San Diego Tours 1-Hour • San Diego City Tour • Patriot Jet Boat

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What people are saying about San Diego

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 474 reviews

So much fun! We were nervous at first but soon got comfortable with the GPS and the ride. We had a blast and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants a different experience. Everywhere we went people we looking and asking where we rented them at. The three hours went by so fast. Thank you fir a great time!

This was a reunion of sorts for a Marine Corps brother and me. It had been 45 years since the first day we stepped onboard ship. It was very nostalgic.

Enjoyed the history, gave me even more appreciation for those who serve or have served in the armed forces.

A great day. Lots to see and do. Would definitely go again.

The crew was very knowledgeable and had lots of corny jobs